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CHIPS Articles: Collaboration is Key to Expanding Mine Warfare Advantage

Collaboration is Key to Expanding Mine Warfare Advantage
By Dan Broadstreet, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division - June 19, 2017
PANAMA CITY, Florida - Mine Warfare Executives Dr. Peter Adair, Stephen Hunt and David Everhart are working to establish a culture of collaboration among the U.S. Navy’s Research, Development, Test and Evaluation community to help the United States maintain maritime superiority over adversaries.

Adair, who was appointed as Mine Warfare Director for the Naval Surface Warfare Centers (NSWC) on April 16, 2017, said one of the objectives of his newly-appointed role is to coordinate with all Naval Warfare Centers (WCs) on Fleet engagement in the area of MIW, which includes Mine Countermeasures (MCM) and Mining. A native of Panama City Beach, Florida, Adair works at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD).

“Collaboration is key,” said Adair. “Working with the U.S. Navy’s Fleet, we will conduct mission engineering and analysis to identify MIW capability gaps against current and future threats. I will then partner with NAVSEA’s Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), Rapid Prototyping Directors and experts across the technical community to find potential solutions to these Fleet capability gaps. To achieve this, the Navy RDT&E community’s culture must evolve into one that begins to work collaboratively across all domains.”

Everhart, appointed as NSWC PCD’s CTO on Oct. 2, 2016, said his primary objective is to lead change in PCD’s culture to enable more rapid identification of technologies and innovative solutions to address Fleet capability gaps.

“When I speak about finding potential technological solutions, I’m referring to emerging and mature technologies, and those found outside of our Navy’s traditional Mine and Expeditionary Warfare sources that can be rapidly configured to address urgent needs,” said Everhart.

Hunt, appointed as NSWC PCD Distinguished Engineer for MIW Prototyping on Oct. 2, 2016, said he is responsible for collaborating with the entire Naval Research and Development Establishment (NR&DE) in search of technologies with the potential to be rapidly prototyped as solutions for Fleet capability gaps.

“I believe we are ushering in a new cultural shift, a new approach that encourages the NR&DE community to collaborate as an enterprise,” said Hunt. “Adair, Everhart and I are responsible for establishing liaisons across all Department of Defense (DoD) NR&DE domains.

This includes Systems Commands like the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and agencies like the naval research laboratories.”

Hunt said technology is rapidly advancing on a global scale and America’s adversaries are now able to obtain competitive technologies, which challenge the United States’ ability to maintain Maritime superiority.

“This trend is shrinking the gap between us and our adversaries,” said Hunt. “This is why we’re formulating a new cultural shift toward unifying our NR&DE community into a collaborative enterprise. This strategy will also help us to rapidly field more prototypes, which will further expand America’s technological advantage.”

Adair, Everhart and Hunt agreed that initiating an expanded network of collaboration across the NR&DE community will also require creating new tools to support collaborative work at different locations.

“There is new legal language being introduced into our DoD’s Acquisition processes which is empowering our community, not only to develop more innovative solutions, but also to field these prototypes to the Fleet more rapidly,” said Adair.

Everhart said by implementing collaboration at the NR&DE level, the Navy will be able to accelerate the fielding of solutions to keep pace with our adversaries.

“The clock is ticking,” said Everhart. “Innovation doesn’t always mean inventing new technologies. It is also about finding more ways to combine proven technologies and integrating them into creative configurations to effectively counter threats and achieve military objectives.”

“If we empower NSWC PCD’s 1,400-plus employees by giving them tools to collaborate more effectively across our command, just imagine the increase in innovative solutions we’re likely to achieve,” said Hunt. “It stands to reason by doing the same for the NR&DE community, we will expand the advantage over America’s adversaries on an exponential scale.”

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